Look!” Mom whispered excitedly as she pointed to the crown flower. At first I could only see the flower and wide leaves. Then I saw them—not just one, but two caterpillars with black, white, and yellow stripes.
I jumped up and down and shouted, “We found some! We found some! Dad, come quick!” Mom and I had been searching for this kind of caterpillar for months. On the mainland they are called monarch caterpillars, but here in Hawaii we call them pulelehua caterpillars. I had read all about them in books from the library, but I’d never seen a real one.
Mom carefully broke off the branch, and I picked some extra leaves for food. I helped Dad punch some holes in the lid of a big plastic jar. Then Mom and I gently put the caterpillars in their new home.
I watched the caterpillars until it was bedtime. I wanted to sleep by them, but Mom said it would be best to leave them outside. After I said my prayers, Dad tucked me into bed. Then I asked him, “Are you sure those caterpillars are going to turn into butterflies?” He told me that they would after they wrapped themselves in chrysalises.
The next morning I woke up early and ran to check on my caterpillars. They were still there, munching on the leaves. During the next week I gave them more leaves and watched them eat and eat. They got fatter and fatter. Then one morning I noticed that they were hanging upside down. When I came home for lunch, my caterpillars were gone!
“Mom! Somebody stole my caterpillars!” I yelled. Mom laughed as she took the lid off the jar and showed me the bright green chrysalises hanging where the caterpillars had been.
“Now will they turn into butterflies?” I asked.
“They will when the time is right,” Mom said.
Over the next week we watched the chrysalises slowly change. A tiny gold stripe appeared near the top, and the green got darker and darker until it was almost black. Then one day after I had almost forgotten about them, one of the butterflies hatched and flew away. Mom said I should be happy. But I was frustrated because I had missed seeing it hatch. When Dad reminded me that I still had one more, I felt better.
This time I was going to make sure I didn’t miss it. Everywhere I went the chrysalis came with me. We even took the jar with us on our vacation, but still no butterfly.
When Sunday came, I wanted to take the jar to church. Mom said she could use the chrysalis to help with sharing time.
During sharing time Mom taught us that all things testify of Jesus Christ. Then she held up my jar and showed the children the two chrysalises. We talked about how a caterpillar changes into a butterfly and leaves behind an empty chrysalis. Mom told us that the new life of a butterfly can remind us of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Then she sang, “ ‘How could the Father tell the world of sacrifice, of death? He sent his Son to die for us and rise with living breath.’ ” * Mom smiled and said, “Maybe if we all sing this song and think about the words, we can sing the butterfly right out of its chrysalis!”
We all sat up straight in our seats and sang our very best. When the song ended, everyone was very quiet. Suddenly one of the children said, “Look!”
We all looked at the jar on the table, and there was a butterfly unfolding its wings. My mom’s mouth opened wide, but she didn’t make a sound. Sister Makuakane whispered, “It’s a miracle!” All the children were excited to see the butterfly opening and closing its big orange and black wings. No one could stop smiling.
After church we set the butterfly free. We watched as it danced away in the wind. I have seen a lot of butterflies since then, but none of them were as beautiful as our sharing time butterfly.